Anxiety. Freakin', deakin', gosh dang ANXIETY! It's real and very present and super overwhelming.
When is anxiety just laziness? When is laziness just anxiety?
Let me start by saying, I have anxiety. I have always had anxiety. It's a hard thing to explain. I've tried, but unless you have it, you won't get it. Even if you do "get" it, what good is that? Does that really help, or does it just feel good for you to sympathize? A bit.
Thus, I'm not going to try yet again to share that experience and those feelings. Besides, they're my feelings, I don't want you to start delving into them and taking away something that I uniquely get. They're mine!
What might be fun to explore is the differentiation between anxiety and laziness. I've felt both. Sometimes I don't want to do something and I don't have to do something, so in order to defend my fragile ego from the outside world, I tell myself that I can't do it because of anxiety. This is not often the case, but every now and then... yeah. Which in itself is interesting since most people don't care what I do. The only reason I need to defend my actions is because I assume others will think poorly of me for quitting something, which really means that I will think poorly of myself for quitting something! That's another story for another time, though.
I want to share the fact that I've quit many things due to anxiety. The times I can't just "get over it" or "ignore it" or "bite the bullet".... I've quit jobs and schools and teams and friendships because I felt my entire world and everything in it would collapse if I continued doing this thing.
It's crazy. My mind decides a random situation is fight or flight, so it freaks out and tells me to ditch because I may have a breakdown if not. No matter how brave or confident or aware I am, there is a sense of grave danger. How ridiculous is that? What kind of cruel brain would permit such a thing? A slightly disordered and unwell one, I suppose.
Geez, though, the lies I've told to protect my shame. I felt weak and vulnerable and downright silly for letting these things control my life. Not to mention, the complete loss of privacy. If I had to miss a day of class or slow down my work schedule, I wasn't going to start telling my life story and explain how awful it is to start hyperventilating in public to my boss or co-worker. Not even my friends should have to hear about these things. I thought I was too independent and strong-willed for that. So, instead, I lied and the lies build and feel gross. It helped me escape an uncomfortable conversation, but it didn't feel good.
Now, I'm not a complete failure.... I've also won some of those battles. Sometimes I do fight. I've traveled the world alone. I've finished one college degree and am working on finishing another. I've done some incredible and brave things. I've also done mundane things: gone to work, made phone calls, gone to social events... despite, and in spite of vicious, terrifying, anxious thoughts.
It's certainly not impossible to win. However, it does depend on many factors. Where is my confidence and self-esteem? How is my energy, health, and my outside support? And, heck, is it worth the effort? Fighting anxiety is exhausting! It's not just a little voice telling you, "Nope. Stop. Naw. Don't do it."
It's actually a tank rolling towards you with a grenade launcher pointing at you that's ready to shoot. Someone pops their head up and says, "One more step and we might blast you."
You're looking right into the barrel of the launcher and you have to decide: is it worth it? Can I handle this? Maybe they're bluffing... maybe I'll survive...or... maybe not.
If you sit on the ground, you're not lazy. Still, you may never forgive yourself.
There's no way of knowing how others view me when my anxiety takes over. I have found a community of people who seem to understand and care, so whether they get it or not, they have my back. Understanding does exist, and the sooner you find those people, and your own way of coping and surviving the hour, the day, the week, the year, the better life will become. Until then, though, it's not easy. Even after then, it's a difficult and scary existence. So it is your job and my job and everyone's job to listen to people and respect people. That's all we can do, and it happens to be the best thing we can do!